Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy: A Guide to America’s Censorship Wars
Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy is a lively, lucid primer on censorship, art, and popular culture. It is also the product of several years on the front lines of the culture wars it describes. In this book, Marjorie Heins, founding director of the Arts Censorship Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, uses her considerable expertise to help provide a sensible, coherent account of some of the most hotly contested issues of the 1990s. For all the recent talk about censorship, until now there has been no comprehensive summary of either the legal underpinnings of the assaults on free expression or their social implications. Which laws do self-styled “censors” rely on? How are record labeling, movie ratings, and attacks on museums related? How can a concerned citizen make sense of genuinely confusing issues that seem to pit the rights of taxpayers against those of artists? Using examples from current and historic court cases and public debates, Heins reveals the strategies used by prosecutors and special interest groups, and explains why efforts to suppress artistic expression on painful or offensive subjects won’t help solve the problems that beset society today. No other book offers such an accessible summary or such keen insights into America’s struggle over free expression.